When discussing addictive and lethal substances, alcohol is rarely given priority. The legal status of alcohol makes it seem worlds apart from heroin and crack cocaine (among other substances) regarding danger. You might scoff at the notion of alcohol being anyone near as dangerous as heroin, let alone more hazardous. However, if you consider the evidence presented in this article, you might see why it’s not such a crazy thought.
Addiction and Social Stigma
While addiction is a struggle for millions of people no matter what their drug of choice is, alcoholics are less likely to be stigmatized for their addiction than those addicted to heroin. For one, alcohol is legal. Therefore, addicts don’t have to go to the same lengths as heroin addicts. They might have to resort to crimes like stealing to fund their habit, but the act of them possessing alcohol is not a crime. Also, drinking is much more common than heroin use. If someone tells you they drink, you’re probably not going to jump to the conclusion that they’re ruining their life, like you would with heroin. The image of a heroin addict going through withdrawal symptoms, desperate for a fix isn’t all that different from what happens to an alcoholic who needs a drink. Addiction is an addiction, and legal and social acceptability should not make any difference.
Alcohol’s Effect On Yourself
Heavy drinking can have a long-lasting effect on different parts of your body. For one, it can cause inflammation of your liver and other damage. It can also contribute to ulcers, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Your mental faculties can be harmed by alcohol as well. As a depressant (a substance which slows down activity in your brain), alcohol can be a factor in depression. Plus, if an alcoholic goes without a drink for too long, it can cause feelings of anxiety. Additionally, the depression brought by heavy drinking could lead to suicidal thoughts and the taking of one’s life.
Aside from your body, alcohol can also have devastating effects on your day-to-day life. If you develop a dependency on alcohol, your daily goal every day becomes to acquire alcohol. This can lead users to go to great lengths to try and hide their habit, or not. They might begin by trying to discretely drink at work, only to end up coming to work intoxicated on a regular basis before losing their job. When an alcoholic is faced with a difficult situation like that, what will they turn to cope?
Alcohol’s Effects On Others
Addiction is like a tornado in that it can destroy anything in its path. Even if your friends and loved ones aren’t alcoholics, your addiction can still affect them for the worse. They’re likely to be stressed and worried for your health, and the marked changes alcohol has made to your personality. Additionally, if you’re pregnant, alcohol can have significant damaging effects on the health of your unborn baby.
Alcohol and the Law
Alcohol might be legal, but there are certain crimes related to drinking. Drunk driving is a sad reality that can result in your arrest, severe injuries to yourself and others or worse, death. Alcohol can inhibit your decision-making skills and cause you to act out in ways that put yourself and others at severe risk. Even if you’re not intoxicated, your urge to acquire money for more alcohol can cause you to commit crimes, such as stealing. Someone arrested for an alcohol-related charge might be forced to wearing an alcohol monitor on their ankle.
What About Heroin?
While we’re emphasizing the dangers of alcohol, we by no means intended to downplay the dangers of heroin. Heroin is an opiate that is severely addictive and can have tragic consequences. Heroin addicts will find their tolerance increasing over time and thus need more and more to feel normal. This can lead to them going to desperate measures to finance their habit. Due to the social stigma of heroin addiction, addicts might never seek help and find themselves further in the throes of addiction.
Is Alcohol More Dangerous Than Heroin?
Both alcohol and heroin are substances that can have severe effects on someone’s health, their day-to-day life and the lives of those around them. While they each can have different damaging effects on users, neither should be considered any more or less dangerous, and neither addiction should be treated less seriously. Furthermore, alcoholics and heroin addicts who want to overcome their addiction should be treated with compassion.